Markkula Center of Applied Ethics

Perspectives on Cognitive Enhancement

In a recent article in the prestigious scientific journal, Nature, Hank Greely, professor of law at Stanford University, and colleagues called for "a presumption that mentally competent adults should be able to engage in cognitive enhancement using drugs." Greely discussed their conclusions at a presentation for the Ethics Center May 7. A leading expert on the legal, ethical, and social issues surrounding health law and the biosciences, Greely specializes in the implications of new biomedical technologies. He is a co-director of the MacArthur Foundation Project on Law and Neuroscience and chairs the steering committee for the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics. In addition, he directs both the law school’s Center for Law and the Biosciences and the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics’ Program in Neuroethics.

The Center’s Emerging Issues Group took up the same topic at their weekly meeting May 11. Present at the discussion were Center Bioethics Director Margaret R. McLean; science reporter Sally Lehrman, the Knight Ridder/San Jose Mercury News Professor of Journalism in the Public Interest at SCU; Visiting Fellow J. Brooke Hamilton, associate professor of management at University of Louisiana-Lafayette and chair of the Ethics Committee and Institutional Review Board of the University Medical Center; and Kirk O. Hanson, executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Center Communications Director Miriam Schulman was moderator.

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